Catalogue


Enlightenment Orpheus : the power of music in other worlds /
Vanessa Agnew.
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2008.
description
xiv, 263 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0195336666 (cloth), 9780195336665 (cloth)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2008.
isbn
0195336666 (cloth)
9780195336665 (cloth)
contents note
Argonaut Orpheus -- Music's empire -- Anti-Orpheus.
catalogue key
6398462
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [209]-243) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2009-01-01:
This is less a book about music than about using music to elucidate the currents of political, aesthetic, and economic thought--in this case in the last quarter of the 18th century. Looking at the travels of early music historian Charles Burney (1776-1814) and employing the methodology and terminology of poststructuralism, Agnew (German studies, Univ. of Michigan) pursues thoroughly and with frequent insights the shifts in attitude within society as evidenced by Burney's scholarship and its reception in Britain and on the Continent. Burney is the author's Orpheus and Burney's travels, especially in German principalities, led him to institute new ways of seeking out, studying, and interpreting music, serious and popular--ways that illuminated contemporary culture and provided seed for later investigations. Agnew's consideration of then-recent contacts with Polynesia and its music illustrates the period's growing interest in exotic cultures. Agnew's views are ethnomusicological, music as less an art than an artifact, music as a lens through which to view many aspects of a culture. The text contains a number of typos, and one wonders why this should be the case in a scholarly book. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. F. Goossen emeritus, University of Alabama
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Vanessa Agnew is the first since James Cook to take seriously the Royal Society's emphasis on the importance of playing music to natives as a way of soothing and rendering them receptive to their visitors. She gives detailed descriptions of chants and dances in the voyages of discovery in the South Seas, not just as pastimes and amusements but as deliberate elements of a colonial enterprise. To notice this has been Agnew's first triumph. To consider how native music contributes to a comparative critique of a national standard of music is her second. Thus 'earwitnessing' is conceived of in the same terms as Mary Louise Pratt's eyewitnessing, namely a far from disinterested aesthetic activity that has many colonial jobs to perform. That local musical scales were actually used in systems of racial classification I find a truly astounding fact. Agnew has taken the study of Pacific exploration into new waters."-- Jonathan Lamb, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Vanderbilt University "With rare geographic breadth and deft archival digging, Agnew teaches her readers to hear Enlightenment debates anew. By recovering the connections between world travelers' reports and European musical theory, she provides an ingeniously realized model for thinking about the global shaping of modern European culture."--Harry Liebersohn, Professor of History, University of Illinois, and author ofThe Travelers' World "Enlightenment Orpheusinvestigates the extraordinarily complex and convoluted relationship that Western societies have maintained towards music from Plato and his forebears onwards. What Agnew has accomplished, simply stated, is considerable. Agnew deftly outlines the politics of travel, the politics of music, and the discursive conjunctions both share in common."--Richard Leppert, Samuel Russell Distinguished Professor of Humanities, University of Minnesota "A fascinating journey into Enlightenment thought...Agnew's book not only makes an innovative contribution to research on alterity, the Enlightenment, and the cultural history of music, it also can be profitably read by a non-specialist audience with an interest in music."--H-Netr "Necessary reading for scholars of eighteenth-century music. Agnew's study does more than chart a new history of the music aesthetics and cultural ideals that preceded the apotheosis of Germanic music...She gives a strikingly original account that emphasizes the transnational and ven imperial matrix of this rise and, by implication, that of the period's most cherished ideals of music, which represents a high achievement indeed." --Eighteenth-Century Music "A very significant and original contribution to 18th-century cultural history, as notable for its scholarship as for its theoretical acuity and critical insight. Like thewaiataadmired by Burney and Forster, this book induces both melancholy--for harmonies invoked and dissipated--and admiration."--Journal of Pacific History
"Vanessa Agnew is the first since James Cook to take seriously the Royal Society's emphasis on the importance of playing music to natives as a way of soothing and rendering them receptive to their visitors. She gives detailed descriptions of chants and dances in the voyages of discovery in the South Seas, not just as pastimes and amusements but as deliberate elements of a colonial enterprise. To notice this has been Agnew's first triumph. To consider how native music contributes to a comparative critique of a national standard of music is her second. Thus 'earwitnessing' is conceived of in the same terms as Mary Louise Pratt's eyewitnessing, namely a far from disinterested aesthetic activity that has many colonial jobs to perform. That local musical scales were actually used in systems of racial classification I find a truly astounding fact. Agnew has taken the study of Pacific exploration into new waters."-- Jonathan Lamb, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Vanderbilt University "With rare geographic breadth and deft archival digging, Agnew teaches her readers to hear Enlightenment debates anew. Journeys to Tonga and Tahiti, Berlin and Vienna, converge in her fresh interpretation of how late eighteenth-century writers weighed the utilitarian and aesthetic value of music. By recovering the connections between world travelers' reports and European musical theory, she provides an ingeniously realized model for thinking about the global shaping of modern European culture."--Harry Liebersohn, Professor of History, University of Illinois, and author of The Travelers' World "Enlightenment Orpheus investigates the extraordinarily complex and convoluted relationship that Western societies have maintained towards music from Plato and his forebears onwards. When cultures marked as Other got into the mix in the eighteenth century, as Professor Agnew ably demonstrates, the story got balled up a good deal more, helping to usher in attitudes about music's place in society that concern us to this day. What Agnew has accomplished, simply stated, is considerable. Orpheus and his aftermath, as she shows, is more than a good story; it's a metaphor as to how society is, or ought to be, organized: socially, culturally, acoustically. Agnew deftly outlines the politics of travel, the politics of music, and the discursive conjunctions both share in common."--Richard Leppert, Samuel Russell Distinguished Professor of Humanities, University of Minnesota
"With rare geographic breadth and deft archival digging, Agnew teaches her readers to hear Enlightenment debates anew. Journeys to Tonga and Tahiti, Berlin and Vienna, converge in her fresh interpretation of how late eighteenth-century writers weighed the utilitarian and aesthetic value of music. By recovering the connections between world travelers' reports and European musical theory, she provides an ingeniously realized model for thinking about the globalshaping of modern European culture."--Harry Liebersohn, Professor of History, University of Illinois, and author of The Travelers' World
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, January 2009
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
The Enlightenment saw a critical engagement with the ancient idea that music carries certain powers - it heals and pacifies, civilizes and educates. Yet this interest in musical utility seems to conflict with larger notions of aesthetic autonomy that emerged at the same time. This text examines this apparent conflict.
Main Description
The Enlightenment saw a critical engagement with the ancient idea thatmusic carries certain powers - it heals and pacifies, civilizes and educates.Yet this interest in musical utility seems to conflict with larger notions ofaesthetic autonomy that emerged at the same time. In Enlightenment Orpheus,Vanessa Agnew examines this apparent conflict, and provocatively questions thenotion of an aesthetic-philosophical break between the eighteenth and nineteenthcenturies. Agnew persuasively connects the English traveler and music scholar CharlesBurney with the ancient myth of Orpheus. She uses Burney as a guide throughwide-ranging discussions of eighteenth-century musical travel, views on music'scurative powers, interest in non-European music, and concerns about culturalidentity. Arguing that what people said about music was central to some of thegreat Enlightenment debates surrounding such issues as human agency, culturaldifference, and national identity, Agnew adds a new dimension to postcolonialstudies, which has typically emphasized the literary and visual at the expenseof the aural. She also demonstrates that these discussions must be viewed incontext at the era's broad and well-entrenched transnational network, andemphasizes the importance of travel literature in generating knowledge at thetime. A new and radically interdisciplinary approach to the question of the power ofmusic - its aesthetic and historical interpretations and political uses -Enlightenment Orpheus will appeal to students and scholars in historicalmusicology, ethnomusicology, German studies, eighteenth-century history, andcomparative studies.
Main Description
The Enlightenment saw a critical engagement with the ancient idea that music carries certain powers - it heals and pacifies, civilizes and educates. Yet this interest in musical utility seems to conflict with larger notions of aesthetic autonomy that emerged at the same time. In EnlightenmentOrpheus, Vanessa Agnew examines this apparent conflict, and provocatively questions the notion of an aesthetic-philosophical break between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Agnew persuasively connects the English traveler and music scholar Charles Burney with the ancient myth of Orpheus. She uses Burney as a guide through wide-ranging discussions of eighteenth-century musical travel, views on music's curative powers, interest in non-European music, and concerns aboutcultural identity. Arguing that what people said about music was central to some of the great Enlightenment debates surrounding such issues as human agency, cultural difference, and national identity, Agnew adds a new dimension to postcolonial studies, which has typically emphasized the literary andvisual at the expense of the aural. She also demonstrates that these discussions must be viewed in context at the era's broad and well-entrenched transnational network, and emphasizes the importance of travel literature in generating knowledge at the time. A new and radically interdisciplinary approach to the question of the power of music - its aesthetic and historical interpretations and political uses - Enlightenment Orpheus will appeal to students and scholars in historical musicology, ethnomusicology, German studies, eighteenth-century history,and comparative studies.
Main Description
The Enlightenment saw a critical engagement with the ancient idea that music carries certain powers - it heals and pacifies, civilizes and educates. Yet this interest in musical utility seems to conflict with larger notions of aesthetic autonomy that emerged at the same time. InEnlightenmentOrpheus, Vanessa Agnew examines this apparent conflict, and provocatively questions the notion of an aesthetic-philosophical break between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Agnew persuasively connects the English traveler and music scholar Charles Burney with the ancient myth of Orpheus. She uses Burney as a guide through wide-ranging discussions of eighteenth-century musical travel, views on music's curative powers, interest in non-European music, and concerns about cultural identity. Arguing that what people said about music was central to some of the great Enlightenment debates surrounding such issues as human agency, cultural difference, and national identity, Agnew adds a new dimension to postcolonial studies, which has typically emphasized the literary and visual at the expense of the aural. She also demonstrates that these discussions must be viewed in context at the era's broad and well-entrenched transnational network, and emphasizes the importance of travel literature in generating knowledge at the time. A new and radically interdisciplinary approach to the question of the power of music - its aesthetic and historical interpretations and political uses -Enlightenment Orpheuswill appeal to students and scholars in historical musicology, ethnomusicology, German studies, eighteenth-century history, and comparative studies.
Table of Contents
Illustrationsp. xiii
Introductionp. 3
Argonaut Orpheusp. 11
Music's Empirep. 73
Anti-Orpheusp. 121
Conclusionp. 169
Notesp. 177
Bibliographyp. 209
Indexp. 245
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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